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Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Heather MacDonald on the ruthlessly competitive hierarchy of victimhood on display at Berkeley

“UC Berkeley’s descent from place of learning to victimology hothouse” 

Image credit: A Voice For Men
Heather MacDonald is always a voice of sanity, especially on her frequent topics (racial profiling, cops, homelessness). At the LA Times yesterday, she had an op-ed on political correctness and the violent “protests” on the Berkeley Campus. Here are a few extracts:

Controversy and unrest has followed Milo Yiannopoulos' speaking tour at U.S. colleges. 

Even before its students rioted in the streets, distressed that right-wing provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos would dare to open his mouth in their presence, UC Berkeley presented a visual illustration of the academy’s decline from a place of learning to a victimology hothouse. Within walking distance on the Berkeley campus are emblems of both a vanished academic world and the diversity-industrial complex that ousted it.

Emblem 1: In Bauhaus-era typography, a quotation from Supreme Court Justice Benjamin Cardozo adorns the law school’s otherwise brutalist facade.

“You will study the wisdom of the past, for in a wilderness of conflicting counsels, a trail has there been blazed. You will study the life of mankind, for this is the life you must order, and, to order with wisdom, must know. You will study the precepts of justice . . .”
. . .
No law school today, if erecting itself from scratch, would think of parading such sentiments, first uttered in 1925, on its exterior. Cardozo’s invocation of “mankind” is alone cause for removal, but equally transgressive is his belief that there is wisdom in the past and not just discrimination. He presents learning as a heroic enterprise focused not on the self but on the vast world beyond, both past and present. Education is the search for objective knowledge that takes the learner into a grander universe of thought and achievement.
. . .
Emblem 2: UC Berkeley’s Division of Equity and Inclusion has placed vertical banners across the main campus reminding students of the contemporary university’s paramount mission: assigning guilt and innocence within the ruthlessly competitive hierarchy of victimhood. Each banner shows a photo of a student or a member of the student-services bureaucracy, beside a purported quotation from that student or bureaucrat. No rolling cadences here, no exhortations to intellectual conquest. Instead, just whining or penitential snippets from the academic lexicon of identity politics.
. . .
Berkeley funds the Division of Equity and Inclusion with a cool $20 million annually and staffs it with 150 full-time functionaries: It takes that much money and personnel to drum into students’ heads how horribly Berkeley treats its “othered” students.
. . .
What this seemingly gratuitous admonition really means is: “Do not violate any politically correct taboo.”

Cardozo invited students to the life of the mind. The diversocrats who have commandeered the American university invite students to a cultural reeducation camp where they can confess their political sins or perfect their sense of victimhood.

Read the rest here.
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